No reason Western shouldn’t be allowed to prosper

Brian Moore

Life at Western is better now than it was four years ago. Our dorms are nicer. Our food services are better. DUC is getting a make over, and Diddle Arena is a new jewel box in college basketball.

That’s just the aesthetics. In classrooms and laboratories, Western is spending 10 times more money now on research than it was 10 years ago. Of course, not everything is perfect around here. But things have certainly looked up since Gary Ransdell took the reigns in 1997.

Apparently, some members of the Council on Postsecondary Education aren’t as pleased. In a Courier-Journal article published last Saturday, a state representative questioned Western’s ambitious trajectory as a nationally prominent university. The idea I got was that the CPE feared Western would lose its role as a regional university if it continued to grow, prosper and rake in tens of millions of dollars in grants and donations every year.

Pardon the interruption, but the notion is ridiculous. Since when was it a bad thing to see progress? Last I checked, the state was asking its universities to increase their enrollment.

Western does what it’s supposed to, and now folks are getting nervous. What’s wrong? Scared Western might approach the quality of U of L or UK? Scared Western’s endowment might match the state’s dynamic duo?

Excuse me for not seeing the problem. What the C-J article failed to do was talk to a single student about life on campus. Had the story included that, perhaps readers across the state would have heard about how good life is here. And the idea that Western has begun to deviate from its “role” as a regional university makes me sick. It’s time for the CPE to change its definition of Western’s role.

The school should not be shackled from greatness. I can’t recall a nationally prominent school that wasn’t also good for its region.

At UK, they say, “America’s next great university.”

At U of L, they say, “Dare to be great.”

At Western, we say, “The spirit makes the master.”

The notion that Western is losing its role is an unjustified slap in the face to those who work everyday to make life better here and to make life better for students after they walk the line. With Western’s spirit, it should dare to be a great American university.

Roles change. Women, for example, used to have no role in the workplace. They stayed at home. Minorities once held a subordinate role in the country, as well.

Those roles changed, by God’s grace.

Western should not be handcuffed by the state. It should be allowed to change its role, for the better.

Brian Moore is a senior print journalism major from Louisville.

The opinions expressed in this commentary reflect only those of the writer and not of the Herald or of Western Kentucky University.